The judge presiding over the CeCe McDonald case, Daniel C. Moreno, has worked in the legal system for nearly 25 years, and much of his career has been devoted to public service and improving the lives of people of color in Minnesota.
According to Mr. Moreno’s official biography and an article published soon after he was appointed to the bench in 2006, Mr. Moreno’s prior career included 15 years as an Assistant Public Defender with the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office, where he was also an intern and Law Clerk for several years during law school.
Mr. Moreno’s parents immigrated from Mexico in the late 1950s and eventually raised Mr. Moreno and his siblings in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a vacation hamlet roughly equidistant from Milwaukee and Chicago. His father worked in construction and his mother in a factory, and Mr. Moreno’s jobs prior to law school included a meat-packing plant and construction work.
After law school, Mr. Moreno was one of the founding members of the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association and for eight years worked with Centro Cultural Chicano, a community organization in Minneapolis that offers health services, a food bank and adult literacy services.
Mr. Moreno’s personal background could help inform him about the particular intersections of race and class involved in CeCe McDonald’s case, which centers around the young African-American student accused of murder of a 47-year old white man when she defended herself after physical assault that left her with a face slashed with a broken glass mug.